Autism is being diagnosed in more and more children every year. While it may be tempting to conclude this is the sign of some wider problem, what has contributed to many of these diagnoses have been improvements in testing and screening. As a result, medical professionals have a better understanding than ever before of what autism looks like and how it can be treated.
Parents of a child with autism may wonder what’s the best course of treatment for their child. It’s understandable to wonder if early intervention is enough for autism care. While there is always new information about autism, the current consensus is that early intervention is vital in helping children and families cope and be successful in society.
What is Autism?
Autism is considered a developmental disorder with symptoms typically appearing in the first two years of life. Autism impacts behavior, communication, and other developmental skills children need in life.
Can Autism Be Caught Early?
In many cases, catching autism early can be difficult for parents and medical professionals. Since children grow and learn at different paces, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what symptoms and behaviors might be normal vs. what might be an autism diagnosis. Boys and girls may exhibit different signs, too.
Medical professionals will look at a child’s overall development between 18 months and two years to make an official diagnosis. In some instances, autism may be suspected early on but not diagnosed until they’re much older, depending on the child’s symptoms, behavior, and other signs that are documented over time.
An autism diagnosis typically doesn’t happen until they are between three and four years old for most children. A child’s condition can improve greatly through early intervention starting around 12 to 18 months of age.
Early Signs Your Child Might Be Autistic
Some of the early signs a child may be autistic include:
- Not engaging in pretend play
- Not making eye contact
- Lack of smiling by six months old
- Not responding to their name, voices, or other sounds
- Extraordinary attachment to a specific toy or object
- Resistance or hostility to being held
- Repeating specific actions or words over and over
These are not the only symptoms of early autism, but they will give you some quick ways to observe your child and make notes if anything seems amiss. Document their age, what you see, how often it’s occurring, and any other notes you think would be beneficial to keep track of. Share these with your child’s doctor to ensure you’re keeping an eye on their development in case autism is suspected.
Benefits of Early Intervention for Autism
After noticing these signs, parents should inquire about early intervention programs like the one offered at Ascend Autism. Early intervention is known to provide the best chance for development and optimal outcomes. Early intervention is so useful that finding a treatment provider and program is immensely valuable.
Depending on your child, early intervention can help them learn coping skills that enhance their development and encourage them to engage with the world around them sooner than those diagnosed after the ages of three or four years old. Early intervention for autism can help your child in some of the following ways:
- Encourage positive behaviors
- Discourage negative behaviors
- Learn self-control and other appropriate behaviors
- Develop functional communication skills
- Develop functional social skills
- Develop the skills of transferring behaviors from one situation to the next
- Build habits that help children cope as they get older
Treatment for Early Autism in Children
At Ascend Autism, we advise parents and families on what their next course of action should be. We develop a comprehensive plan zeroing in on each child’s unique needs. For instance, a child may have behavioral issues and need the help of a specific preschool program, or a child might need occupational therapy for sensory issues or language delays. This holistic approach sets up children for success with our early intervention for autism program for children.
Can Early Intervention Cure Autism?
No, early intervention can’t cure autism – there is no cure for autism. Early intervention helps children develop the skills they need to succeed in school and society. For example, work in early intervention programs commonly allows children to develop the following skills:
- Physical skills
- Thinking skills
- Communication skills
- Social skills
- Emotional skills
Early intervention for autism allows a family to learn what they need to know to address the condition. Often, autism brings challenges not just to the child but to parents, siblings, and extended family.
Early intervention gives caregivers and loved ones the resources, knowledge, and time necessary to develop and employ the necessary coping skills to live with the condition in their child or children. Given the short duration of early intervention services, it cannot be the only form of treatment.
When we ask, “Is early intervention enough for autism care?” The clear answer is, “no.” It’s not the end of treatment. Rather, it’s the beginning, the means of laying down the necessary groundwork, so as a child ages, they are better able to live their lives seamlessly. Thus, finding the right program to work with is vital.
At Ascend Autism, we understand the synergy between addressing the child’s needs with autism and the needs of the family facing it. Our unique and experienced approach threads the needle, giving all parties involved the depth of understanding they need and the practical skills they will use.
What You Should Do If You Believe Your Child Has Autism
As the parent or loved one of a child with autism, it’s natural to wonder what interventions should be utilized to assist your child. Autism is challenging for both the child and the family. However, approaching the condition early, educating oneself, and developing the techniques and coping mechanisms necessary sets a foundation for success.
Ascend Autism has the programs and expertise to get early intervention underway and provide ongoing therapies after early intervention services conclude. We offer an array of services for treating autism spectrum disorder and commit ourselves to helping children and families cope. For instance, we offer the following:
- Early Intervention Programs
- ABA Targeted Intervention
- Social Skills Programs
- Parental Support Services
- Telehealth Treatment Programs